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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 10, 2015 1:30am-3:31am EDT

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to make up with somebody you find common ground. place where you can both be comfortable. to some degree we did it on a national level. in the aftermath of the civil war -- few things everybody could agree with or most people and that was that the american soldier be he dressed in gray or blue was amazing phenomenon. in our search for common ground we found that ground literally on the battlefields. all of the great battle movement
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for preservation was initiated in the 1880s and 1890s when the veterans were at the height of their power in government and industry leaders and all of them. it was because battlefields ironically these places of conflict could become places of comfort. so americans always put tremendous emphasis on these places as a tool of reconciliation. the key part of the battlefield that came from the sons of confederate veterans stipulated the government would care for this battlefield and not detract from the glory. the dedication speech i helped
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managed. 1927, said the keynote speaker said we do more than dedicate these fields in memory of things that have passed. we consecrate them in the spirit of lee and lincoln to a more perfect understanding to south and north. for the next 50 years or so would faithfully carry out that charge. where americans can come together and understand the war in a very human level. just to give you a sense of how deep this tradition is and how
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it's perceived by the public. a couple of years ago a colleague of mine were doing a tour in fredericksburg for three black churches. what do you mean? are you going to get the trouble for doing this tour? you guys, are you allowed to do this? now i share that story to point out how deep perception is.
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celebrate the centennial of the american war. the 150th was a very different time. we have talked about that in our organization that that's our goal. what in 50 years has changed that we've gone from celebrating to consciously and in a reflective way commemorating
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this. i think there are a lot of things. one is since 1963 and many years that is my math doesn't add up 40 some odd years we've been at war 24 years. there's no other period of american history that approaches that. we're tired of it. the late, great, jerry russell will be an advocate for battlefield preservation. many of you know could argue against it. he said and it applied his view
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but it applied very well to the centennial period. this rests upon all americans having a chairshared language and a shared culture. that's one version. common understanding. of course, the obvious question is it white southerners? was it northern abolitionists. who's memory do we pick? prior to the centennial that was an easy question. because history to some degree always reflects those who possess who are in power. of course since the beginning
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of the centennial the dynamics of our political conversation, the dynamics of power within our society changed dramatically. women's rights movement. i think most of us are glad. it's an important part of the story. the civil rights movement of course. so it goes on. new scholarship. scholarships with job of academics is to agitate us all and provoke us, and they do. they challenge us. they ask questions. some of it we don't like.
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some of it makes us feel a little bit uncomfortable or unstable. have pretty convincingly shown us that many the cultural assumptions about the war, the simplities that we cherish were purposely shaped in order to help the nation achieve reconciliation. slavery was not benign. we treated our slaves well. we often heard that. i've heard that in my career.
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we've all heard that but we know that simply not true nor was it on its last legs in virginia in 1860 or 1861. the emancipation proclamation was not meaningless. grant was not simply a butcher. lee was hardly devoid of political fun. lincoln's views on slavery evolved as the war progressed. slaves did not standby loyally rooting or some have suggested fighting for southern independence confederate victory. all these things have been changed. most of them have been demonstrated to be far more complex than the simplicities we once embraced. some of them -- the that is what
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americans do. we challenge each other to be better. to be better in the present and we challenge each other to see our history as well. sometimes that challenge comes from think tanks and people sitting this big towers. or in the houses of congress or the white house. just as often it comes from the people themselves. it is this process of constant challenge that renders what one generation believes insufficient for the next. it's always been so and it always will be so. content as we might be with our
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perspective on certain issues today our grand children 50 years from now will look back and say just as we look back on those state troopers at the edmond pettus bridge or a dozen moments in american history what were they thinking. this process of challenge and revision and improvement is what america does. it's noisy, it's raucous. it's sometimes painful. argument and failure and discord are every bit as much part of the american fabric as success, virtue and community.
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it's conscience will never be calmed. from the first day to this day. so, in 50 years since the centennial we have changed. we should not be surprised by that. in the 50 years going forth for those of you here for the by centennial we'll have a different conversation. you'll wonder what were they thinking. here is another question. why do we argue over whether or not slavery provokes succession and thus the american civil war. there's a historical topic where there's a wider span of opinion than that in question and a louder volume of discourse than over that question.
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this is a question from 150 or 160 years ago. why do we argue about it now? if you roll back time to the succession debates of 1860 and 1861 and sat down with the delegates of the virginia succession convention and said to them, you know, we know what you're doing. it has nothing to do with slavery and they would have said, what. because at the time, of course, they said it had something to do with slavery. not everything to do with slavery but something to do with slavery. after the war, i would suggest to you that the mainspring and the answer to this question or
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an answer to this question as to why we are is rooted in our very very personal connection. how many of you related to par tis participants in the war. probably 60% of you. how many are related to a confederate confederate? most all of you are. and, so when adelia donovan in 1902 stood before her groups annual convention and declared what lies before us is not only loyalty to memories but loyalties to principles but the vindication of the men.
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if you want to google that statement by stephen d. lee it appears online last time i checked more than 8050 times. john gordon one of the great kind of post-war romantics of the civil war would write the unseemly things that occur should be forgotten or at least forgiven. those things should be forgotten.
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you see by these, it's very complex story and we're simplying it here because we only have 45 minutes or so. you'll pardon me for engaging in some simplicities myself. that search focused on the common virtues at northerners and southerners shared which are most commonly shared. it even extends in former heritage of defense for the sons of confederate veterans said admonishing the park service we
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don't need to give visitors an entire history so they come away with an idea that one side is civil. even today. i would suggest it's because as this room evidences so many americans have not just an intellectual or scholarly connection but a personal connection to the american civil war. if slavery caused the war what does that say about your an ancestors. it makes many people uncomfortable. i would suggest to you we ought
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to be at a point in our national development where we can see that the deeds of our fore bearers are not always a testament. indeed oddly not to see those deeds rather as a testament on the morals of their time. i think all of us hope as we sit here today and ponder our grand children and great grandchildren thinking back upon us. as a testament on us as individuals. rather as a testament in our time.
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so, another question. you can start squirming any second. or vj lawyers from new york city. the union soldiers marched into farmville. let me put the question differently. i see shaking or noddings of heads.
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did the confederates who rushed on to the field at gains mill or who held the stone wall in fredricksburg, did they fight to preserve slavery, to perpetuate. i don't see anybody offering up any opinion in terms of shaking or nodding their heads. ron's heard it. patrick's heard it. you'll hear something like this. my great great grandfather he didn't own slaves. he didn't fight to preserve slavery. he fought to defend his home his way of life and the community and state. the civil war wasn't about slavery.
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you're wrong to tell people that it was. you had that happen, we've all had that happen. we had that happen probably a couple of times a month if not more. what do you say? oh, yeah, the war was about slavery. your grandfather fought to preserve slavery. it's not likely to receive, well, it's likely to receive a letter to a congressman more than anything. they're great, great grandfather from woodstock virginia who served the second virginia
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infantry infantry, for example. most resume their ancestors did not fight, were not motivated. they didn't march off to war saying we need to keep them. most people who attend to believe that or believe that about their ancestors, many of them might be right. that is we have done a very poor job in our nation of making a distinction between the nation and the soldiers who fight.
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we have in america to a degree in many ways that's astonishing allowed the personal motivations of why soldiers fight to define the national purpose to which they fought. soldiers go do war choose to enlist and carry a weapon and enter places of danger for a million reasons. a million reasons. most of them noble. nations go to war for a list of reasons far narrower than that. that list often bears very
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little resemblance to a list of reasons. one of the things we have not done particularly well was to make the distinction, that distinction. nations go to war for very special reasons for policy and purpose. how many years ago couple years ago i was doing a program and we were talking about if legacies of war. a man stood up, he was an african-american gentleman.
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he doesn't see the war through the lens of personal connection. he sees the confederacy through that lens of national -- the confederacy fought to sustain it fought between itself and the rest of the union. that's what brought on the war, the differences. those differences are clearly laid out in statement, policy and practice.
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the confederate constitution, for example. what is the difference between the united states constitution and the confederate constitution? there's a six-year term president. don't think they went to war over that. major difference is the issue the approach the national commitment to the sustenance of slavery. there were many other characters, social regional distinctions that fueled into this. when someone who doesn't have the personal connection to the war stands back and looks and they see the confederacy, they don't see a swarm of young men fighting to defend their homes. the government committed to the sustenance of white supremacy and slavery in america. not all people see it that way but some of them day.
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getting back to this question of policy. those union soldiers who marched into town in april of 1865, racist union soldiers who might hated black people, some of them, they marched for freedom. not because they were motivated by that but because the government that they were fighting for had established that as one of the purposes of the war. our job is to help people untangle these tangled things. remembering or creating a memory
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of your life or of our national life. while remembering certain things can be painful and some can be hurtful, forgetting can be just as painful. what you've seen over the last 50 years in an effort by this nation challenged by people within it to not forget so much. and to understand how so many americans might see the war differently than you or i might see it. that puts the parks service in a very interesting place because we have always been the keeper
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of the nation's memory especially as it relates to the civil war. we facilitate this dialogue of reconciliation, of virtue. people come to our parks not to be provoked and angered but to be inspired and to learn. and to understand why they ought to be grateful to be americans and why they ought to be grateful to the americans that proceeded them. i think we do a pretty good job of them, but here is the question. are we seeking truth. can we do both?
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some people would argue that our role disqualifies. some people have been a little bit uncomfortable with the role we play in a facilitating connection. they recognize, as i think we have increasingly so recognized that part of the work that we've done involves a good deal of forgetting. you don't need to kind of coddle people. just throw it out there and do it. they work on negotiated ground. think about the historic sites we manage.
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lbj. do you think when lady bird was alive with park staff didn't say i wonder what was mrs. johnson was. all of these places have come to us 9/11 directly often times. does that put us in a different place than the historians and academia? absolutely. can we do our jobs better?
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absolutely that. can america distinguish between confederates and the confederacy confederacy. can we honor confederates and talk honestly about the con fed confederacy at the same time? it applied two things, be
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perpetuation for a time and the destruction of the union. can you lament the demise of the confederacy and still love america? it's a milestone moment along america's meandering journey towards freedom justice and equality. it's the foundation from which our nation emerged on to the world stage as a world power. it's the greatest demonstration of both the failure and durability of democracy. it is perhaps the vivid reflection of our virtues, successes and failures all
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wrapped up into one. these are all things that have shaped the lives of every american and millions and millions of people beyond our nation's boundaries have lasted 150 years. in our relentless quest for simplicity an our selective memory that exists on history that flatters or inspires us many americans and maybe america at large today fail to see the immense legacy of the civil war in our lives and in our culture. too many people are interested if the civil war. problem is not enough are interested in the civil war. every american should be able to find a gateway into this story
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for engaging the civil war as part of not only the national experience but the frame work of their own lives. yet for 100 reasons many of them within our control they do not. let's return as i conclude here to that list of names, the civil war, the war between the state, the war of northern aggression, the war of rebellion, the war for southern independence, the second american revolution the war for emancipation. each of these names speaks a certain perspective on the war. it's easy to see why so many southerners would see the war as war of northern aggression. i get that. we all get that. or the war for southern independence. it's easy toe sigh why former slaves might see it as the war
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for emancipation or northerners as the war of the rebellion. i think if you think about i, you can see that. some might see this as a bother bothersome debate. each is a potential gateway for americans to engage in this story. this world changing story. we throw barriers large and subtle into this history. we view the labels these names
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as not able to stand side by side but mutually exclusive. if the war is war of northern aggression can't also be war for emancipation but it was. it was all those things. you draw strength in those risked an gave all for our community's protection our nation's protection and we only pray as we look back on now that we're worthy of their sacrifice. it's improved as well in both large and small ways.
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we learn from their triumphs and mistakes in ways they never could. this tide of history that we ride that carries us here to this very spot today and to this conversation at this moment this tide of history with its greatness and all it's shortcomings all mixed up and intermingled gets carried forth. thank you. [ applause ] >> thanks for the thought provoking talk.
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you put out a lot of questions to the folks here. they might have a couple of questions for you. if you do if you'd come to the microphones in the aisle, state your name and your question. we got about five minutes for questions then we'll wrap it up. >> william trout from williamsport, maryland. that was a very inspiring talk. >> thank you very much. >> kind of went there and went around the bush and around barn chasing it. you didn't answer the one question we all want. are we still fighting the civil war? >> are we still resolving the issues that the war evolved upon. absolutely. pick up a newspaper today. i don't know what's in it. i guarantee you in the newspaper today there's an article that
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raises questions about the appropriate role of the federal government in our lives. if you pick up a newspaper on march 15th 1791, i guarantee you'll find an article somewhere in there about what's the appropriate role in our lives. only once did that discussion collapse. i think that as we look a t the flow of our lives and how we resolve issues as a nation, it's important, really important to understand how we have failed to do that in the past and what the consequences are which is in my mind at least another reason for all of us to not only be interested in the war ourselves
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but try to find a way to engage in friends and neighbors and people you don't even know in this discussion. >> i will say that the civil war was not over in my life, about 20 years ago we started going to some nascar races. we went to richmond virginia. given a nascar flag with the checkered flag on the bottom but the confederate flag on the top. went to new hampshire speedway and decided we were going to fly the flag in the parking lot and we were told we weren't welcome. if we flew that flag it would be torn down and burned. >> i'm not so sure that's true but there would be people who would object to it. i think americans are generally very respectful of expression and i think that generally
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speaking people who are made uncomfortable by the confederate flag aren't tearing them down but they are expressing themselves for sure. to see that flag to many of you as a symbol that your ancestor walked on famous fields, gave their lives, all of those things. we run into trouble i'm all in favor of arguing about these things. when we run into trouble is when we try to insist that everybody needs to see this the same way. it's not going to happen. it's just not going to happen. >> i think once we figure out
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why when lincoln got emancipation through but he didn't think the next step out, civil rights. of course, there was sellma and ferguson today. >> are we still fighting the civil war? i think we are. >> that tide of history. you're absolutely right. >> yes. these will be the last two questions. >> craig swain leesburg virginia. you made mention that some of the common knowledge that we are refine and revised over the years one of them you briefly leaded to the myth of the monolistic block of southern white soldiers or civilians you begin to start looking at reconstruction and opportunity to do something similar in regard to the study of that period. >> i don't know there's any way that someone who is engaged in
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and looked at not just the kind of memorial aspects of it but the intellectual aspects can't but look through. reconstructionists, maybe, if you think the civil war is the contentious issue, wait until we start talking about reconstruction. that was craig swain who runs one of the best civil war blogs in the country.
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it's a great place to go. yes, sir. >> i never thought i would live to see the day when thousands of americans in new york city were marching this summer chanting what do we want, dead cops. when do we want them? now. we are a very divided country today with racial relations. president obama has weighed in on ferguson. he's weighed in on selma and on trayvon martin in florida. i wonder how the parks service feels about his lost opportunity to unite us by going to vicsburg or going to gettysburg or appomattox next week and celebrating the 260,000 -- let
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me change that, 360,000 dead union soldiers who died for the national state of policy of freeing the slaves that they never met? >> two things. first offer, i don't have the slightest, the national park service doesn't have a mind of its own. it's a collection of people with a lot of their own minds. secondly, the president of the united states is my boss. i would be a little bit hesitant hesitant, no matter what my opinion was to enter into that discussion with you in this setting. when i'm off my uniform and walking the streets i'll be glad to offer up my opinions on that but not here and now today. i hope you'll excuse me for that. >> my name is a.j. douglas. i hope you don't mind me doing
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this. it's kind of long but i'd like to say i don't really think though civil war was completely about slavery. why? because throughout history people don't really care about black people that much. i don't really mean to say that way but for example the shooting in paris, massacre this paris. same day nobody 5,000 africans were kill bid the same organization that we're fighting today. didn't happen. wasn't on the news. the point i'm making is, question i'm confederacy won the war, how would things have changed in the country? because either way, union won, confederacy won, there's still slave owners on the back of our money. so if slavery was the object to really get rid of it did we really do that? because it still resonates there. >> well, there's there's a
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number of issues that you raised. i can't tell you what would have happened if the confederacy had won the war. there have been books written about that. there's lots of speculation, and i don't really have hig toanything to add to that conversation. but your question is a perfect example of why, how this tide of history just still engulfs us it's all absolutely connected. no question the civil war is about many things. many of the issues that we hear about, the tariff, and national banking system and, you know, economic policies, all of that. all of those are certainly part of the whole thing, but they have also been part of the discussion from the very beginning. but there was one issue that lit it that spark, that turned this discourse about the proper role of federal government in our lives into a war.
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and that issue was, i think, inarguably slavery that did that. now you equate the issue of race and america's comfort with race with its view on slavery. they're obviously closely related. but the great impact of the american civil war was not a giant stride forward in race relations, but a giant stride and new direction as it related to government policy with respect to race. the hearts and minds of people move slower oftentimes than constitutional amendments reconstruction acts. all of these things. so there are two issues at work here. you know, people often point to
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the emancipation proclamation or the 13th amendment or 14th amendment or 15th amendment. it's still a problem. but the great watershed of the civil war is that it pointed the make if terms of its institutions and policies in a new direction that it had never taken before. all else followed, haltingly, slowly loudly boisterously, sometimes unproductively, but it follows on the last sentence, still follows today. from thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you all. [ applause ] here are some of our featured programs for this weekend on the c-span networks. on c-span 2's book tv, on afterwords, president of americans for tank reform
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dwroefr nordquist says that americans are tired of the tax system. and susan butler on stalin. allies during world war ii and their unexpected partnership. on lectures and history jennifer murray on how civil war veterans reunions have changed from the reconstruction era to present. and sunday afternoon at 1:00, american history tv is live commemorating the 150th anniversary of the confederate surrender and end of the civil war. each week american artifacts takes you to museums and historic sites around the country. in 1865, general lee met general
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great in the village of appomattox courthouse and surrendered his army. while confederate armies were still active in the field, the surrender of the south ace most potent fighting force effectively ended the civil war. next, we tour appomattox courthouse historical park to learn more about the events surrounding that day. >> welcome to appomattox historical park. now we're standing in front of the historic clover hill tavern. this is the oldest building in the village, built in 1819. this area was called clover hill before it became appomattox courthouse in 1845. this was one of the later counties formed. and they took parts of the four surrounding counties and formed appomattox county in 1845.
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they had slaves working on tobacco farms. as of 1860, about 120 people lived here. people would stop at the tavern as they traveled along the stage road. the courthouse was finished maybe in 1847. there was a jail that burned during the war and a new jail was built across the road. interestingly enough, when people come to appomattox courthouse, they learned in their schoolbooks that the surrender took place at appomattox courthouse. well, it did in the town of appomattox courthouse, but the actual surrender took place at the home of wilmer mcclain. the difference in writing, if you're saying the town of appomattox courthouse, court house would be two words, but if you're talking about the building courthouse would be one word.
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and this is where one of the most significant events with the military took place in spring of 1865, april of 1865 with lee's sur ep der. now we're going to walk down the road. it effectively ended lee's retreat. we are standing on the historic richmond stage road. many people wonder why general lee was even heading towards appomattox courthouse after leaving richmond and petersburg on april 2nd, 1865. he was going to concentrate his army at amelia courthouse and head south and link forces with general johnston in north carolina. general grant was a bit different than former generals
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of the union army and he blocked general lee's line of retreat thus general lee had to continue further west searching for rations and hoping to get around grant's army. the next place general lee could gather supplies was about three miles from us here at appomattox station. supplies had been brought over from lynchburg to feed the army. hundreds of thousands of rations, new uniforms and equipment, and that's where they're heading for on april 8 after leaving cumberland church on the night of april 7. general lee's advance is led by reuben lindsey walker. they go into camp about a mile from appomattox station about 2 miles from us on the afternoon of april 8. and general custer's cavalry advances upon that station and captures the supplies. then encounters general reuben lindsey walker's reserve
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artillery and fight for about four hours the battle of appomattox station. a very unique battle in in the civil war, because its mounted cavalry attacking unsupported artillery. no infantry involved other than cannon ooers had picked up weapons the battle lasted for about four hours from the afternoon until after dark. and in the end, general custer overruns the remaining guns of walker. captures about 25 canon 1,000 prisoners and it 00200 wagons. they continue into the village here where they are repulsed at the eastern edge of the village and during the night, the federal cavalry form on the ridge west of town. during the night general lee
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has a council of war. and asking should they surrender or should they try to break out. and it's determine thed they will try to break out on the morning of april 9. they file off to the right and left into these fields. they're going to attach that ridge. there's a federal cavalry under smith. the attack begins after 7:30 that morning and they successfully drive the federals off that ridge doing a left wheel. but hard-marching infantry from the army of the james the 24th corps and a division of troops from of the united states colored troops had covered over 30 miles on april 8. and they come up and close the
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road back down and begin to push back into the appomattox river valley. federal troops are also coming from the south. and off further to the south and east is general custer's cavalry. behind general lee, about 4 miles from here is general mead. and general lee's army is effectively surrounded. white flags are sent out to stop the fighting. and over that course of the week of fighting in the appomattox campaign lee's army had dwindled from 60,000 men to 30,000 men. here at appomattox courthouse. he had lost half of his army. and he determined it was time to meet with general grant and surrender his forces, and they did that here at the mcclain farmhouse in 1865.
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we're now inside the parlor of the home of wilmer mcclain, appomattox county resident who moved here in the fall of 1862. le general lee and general grant corresponded for over three days, and finally after being effectively surrounded here, general lee wished to have a meeting with general grant to surrender his army. lee spent lieutenant colonel marshal to find a place to meet. and mcclain offered his own home. lee arrived about 1:00 and sat here at this marble top table. general grant arrived at about 1:30. and when he came in he sat at the oval wooden table here. the two had met each other in the mexican war, and that was their first discussion. they talked about the mexican war for quite a while. and the conversation got quite pleasant. and general lee reminded general grant of the mature of thise ureuree
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ureure -- nature of this meeting and asked grant to put his terms in writing. grant sat down and put his terms in writing. the federal officers were allowed to be paroled and go home. he was going to allow officers to keep their sidearms and personal baggage, and general lee later requests if their men can keep their horses. grant initially says no but thinks about it for a minute and says that he understands that most of these men are small farmers and they could use those horses, and he will not rewrite it into the terms but will allow the confederalte forces to keep their horses if they have one. the terms are read over by general lee and given to general grant. general grant calls out bowers.
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he is nervous he botches the job and turns it over to elig parker. he actually writes out the formal terms for general grant. general lee's staff officer is lieutenant colonel charles marshall. he writes the acceptance letter. they exchange those letters. that's how the surrender is affected, the exchange of the letters. they both do not sign one document. over the course of the meeting, general grant introduces officers of his staff to general lee. some of them general lee knows very well such as seth williams who was lee's adjutant. another interesting aspect of general grant's staff, there was a young captain named robert lincoln on his staff, and he, of course was the son of president
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abraham lincoln and he was here in the room. another interesting participant in the ceremony was a, or at least maybe not a participant but a witness to this ceremony was this rag doll of lula mcclain, the youngest daughter of wilmer mcclain. it was sitting on the horsehair couch when the officers came in, and they moved it to the mantle during the meeting. after the meeting, some of the officers took the doll off the mantle and began tossing it around. captain thomas moore of general phillip sheridan's staff took the doll home with him as a war souvenir. in the 1990s, the family wanted the doll to come back to appomattox courthouse, and it is now on display in the park visitor's center. the meeting lasted about an hour and a half. it was said to be a gentleman's agreement.
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general grant was very generous in the terms. when the end, when general lee says he has nothing to feed his men, general grant orders rations to be sent to feed lee's army. the men shake hands, general lee departs, goes out into the yard, calls for his horse traveler and rides back to the confederate army, bearing the news of his surrender --. --. the gentleman who owned the house had married a wealthy widow from manassas and that's where he lived at the time of the first major engagement. he decided to move south he could not conduct business in northern virginia. he got into sugar speculation. he was not a farmer as many people will put out. he got into sugar speculation. and this area was convenient, because he could access the south side railroad and make trips to the south to deal in
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that sugar. they owned the house here at the time of the surrender. then in 1867 they are not able to keep up with the payments on the house, and the house is sold, and the family moves back to northern virginia. after the house is sold, the ragland family owns it for a time. but in the early 1890s, a group of union veterans have a plan. they're going to start a retirement community for union soldiers here at appomattox courthouse, and they buy up land west of the village. they are unsuccessful in selling off these lots to union veterans, and they decide they're going to dismantle the house and move it to washington d.c. and create a museum out of it. the house is dismantled. and unfortunately there is a financial panic in 1893 and the
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firm goes bankrupt. and all the supplies or materials outside start to rot away or are taken as souvenirs. the park service, when it takes over the facility in 1940 determines the one thing they're going to do is rebuild the mcclain house. fortunately, the same company that took the house apart got the bid to rebuild the house, and they still had the plans so it's been rebuilt on the exact location, using the original plans. there are a few bricks to the heart in the basement 5,500 original bricks are used on the front of the house. so when you're walking up to the house, you will pass through bricks that were here in 1865. we're back in front of the clover hill tavern which was own the in 1865 by wilson hicks. i'm going to tell you what
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important events took place in the tavern with the printing of parole passes for confederate soldiers so they could return home. we're now inside the clover hill tavern where parole passes were printed for confederate soldiers to return home. part of the agreement was that they would be paroled rather than be sent to prison camp. general lee and grant met a second time here on horseback on the morning of april 10 and general lee requested some safeguard for his men that were going home, because general lee only surrendered one aernls the army of northern virginia. there was still joseph johnston in north carolina richard taylor in louisiana and alabama. kirby smith in texas. his soldiers will be passing through these areas where armies could still be mighting. they don't want these soldiers to be picked up and sent off to prison camp. they don't want to beconfederate army.
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these soldiers could be considered deserters and executed. so general dwrapt thinks it's a good idea to have something for these soldiers to have something to go home. john gibben says he has a portable printing press with him. and a call goes out to men who had been printers prior to joining the army. and they did these around the clock until they had all the passes. that's how we know how many soldiers surrendered here. general george sharp was put in charge of this process. and those men that were printing those passes worked on printers similar to this. and they kept those passes going. they would have to ink the printers and strike off paroles
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that would look like this. they'd actually have to be hung and dried. and then they were cut into individual parole passes. these were sent over to the confederate army where the officer in their command would fill in the soldier's name and sign the parole. and that was made into a master list of paroles that was turned over to the united states forces, and that's how we know what confederate soldiers were paroled here. each soldier would take this parole pass, and on their way home, grant entitled them to receive rations from united states forces should they encounter. they could use it for transportation on ships and railways. we've even seen cases where soldiers are being issued shoes and clothing on their way home. so it was a very valuable piece of paper to have, and it was one treasured by confederate soldiers because it was physical proof that that soldier had made it to the end here at
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general lee at appomattox. he did not dessert the army. next i want to take you where they met on horseback. behind me is the appomattox river valley where the confederate army encamped. and at the top of the ridge is where general lee's headquarters was located in april 1865. there was a second meeting here. they met four times during their life. once in the mexican war at the mcclain house on april 9, here where we're standing on april soso 10, and a last time when general grant had become president lee pays a courtesy call on him at the white house.
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but here is where they met on horseback on april 10. grant said he wished to meet with lee one more time before he headed to washington and he asked lee to sur ep der all the confederate armies in the field. because over at the courthouse the day before he only surrendered the army of virginia. there were three other principal armies that had not surrendered. lee declines to surrender those armies on that occasion saying that he couldn't consult with jefferson davis to know his wishes, but many people who come to appomattox do not realize that the war did not end at appomattox. effectively it does, because once lee's army surrenders, those other armies follow suit. two weeks after lee's surrender here at appomattox, joseph johnston surrendered in north carolina at the bennett place to general sherman. jefferson davis was captured on may 10, and actually andrew
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johnson had declared the war over on may 10, 1865, just a month after the surrender here at appomattox. however, there was still kirby smith with the army in texas, and his official surrender is not until june 2, 1865. the surrender here at appomattox was a multi-day process. they appoint commissioners to work out the details about how the surrender will take place. that is done by commissioners on april 10. and the confederate cavalry is set to surrender their sabres and carbines on april 10, the artillery on april 11 and the bulk of the infantry surrenders on april 12. and i'm going to take you to the road where they surrendered now.
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we're once again standing on the richmond lynchburg stage road. before me is an artillery piece that signifies where the last artillery shots were fired on the morning of april 9. also in front of me is the home of george pierce, the county clerk. and on the evening of april 11, 1865 he had general joshua chamberlain who had set up his tent in his yard. and at this dinner, chamberlain brought coffee, something pierce hadn't had in well over a year. and over the course of the dinner conversation, pierce undoubtedly learned that chamber land was in charge of the surrender ceremony for the confederate infantry on the morning of april 12. chamberlain has his men lining this road from the lee/grant meeting site all the way to the
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mcclain house on april 12 at about 5:00. his men are out here for several hours before the confederates approach. and they start leaning on their rifles talking amongst themselves but as the troops approach, they have their attention. they straighten up. and he calls out shoulder arms lift the rifles from the ground to this position here. he's got about 4,500 men lining the road and presenting a salute. general gordon is coming up returns the salute and calls to his men to shoulder arms as well. they return that salute. the confederates come up a division at a time. face front, stack their arms take off their equipment and turn over their flags. and that's probably the hardest thing for those confederate soldiers, because those flags meant everything to them. and giving them up symbolized the end of the war. the confederates would counter
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march, go back to the appomattox river valley. in the meantime, they would clear off the road, put everything in piles and reform. there were eight or mine confederate divisions. these ceremonies went on all morning and into the afternoon. very emotional and touching but respectful on both sides. as the last confederate troops stacked their arms on the road and returned to their camps, from the camps, they were allowed to start their journey home. the war was over for those soldiers. now we're going to go to the park visitor center where we have our museum, and i'll show you some of our special objects in our collection. we're now in the park visitor center museum where i'm going to show you a few of our most compelling items on display including this original painting
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done by louis guyillaume. it does have inaccurateklaskakccuratecytecyiesinaccuracies. and he was a three star general, not four. guillaume was born in france and immigrated to richmond virginia. the park service acquired this painting in 1954 for $1250. and that money was collected from locals and school kids here in appomattox county. to purchase the painting. what i'd like to show you next is what's left of the first truce flag september out carried by captain robert simms. he bought this towel in richmond
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prior to leaving on the campaign. he said he paid $20 or $40 confederate money for it. he was given this flag to carry out to stop the advance of custer's cavalry that were preparing to make an assault on the confederate left flank. throughout the events of the day, it ended up coming into the possession of a staff officer of custer, named whittaker. and whittaker presented it to custer, and over the years, luby custer would cut off pieces of the truce flag to give out as souvenirs to people that were favorable towards her husband especially after his death at the little bighorn. this piece is general gibbens camp table used at the commissioner's meeting on april 10. they appointed three commissioners each. gibben, charles griffen and wesley merit. lee appointed pendleton gordon.
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they went to the tavern to have the meeting, but they said it was a bare, cheerless place, so they repaired to the mcclain house where gibbon had set up his headquarters and there was no furniture in the room because the tables had been taken as souvenirs after the meeting on april 9. so gibbons used his table and had it inscribed after the commissioners' meeting. this is our display on the apple tree. what is the apple tree? it's one of those myths about appomattox, about lee's surrender. why is it a myth? well, because the event that supposedly took place there wasn't what it seemed. they had been corresponding about the possible of surrender surrendering the army. and when lee is finally ready to surrender his army he sends a
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message to general grant. but general grant is moving his headquarters, so lee's message catches up with him say 11:00 that morning and he has to dispatch men to ride ahead to make the arrangements to meet with general lee. he dispatches lieutenant colonel babcock to ride ahead to meet lee. they find lee resting under an apple tree by the appomattox river. the confederate forces under general gordon and e.p. alexander's artillery are behind this apple tree and see lee talking under it. lee dispatches his orderly to find a place to meet. lee, babcock and dunn ride into the village. the next time they see lee they
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learn they've surrendered. they went over and started to cut the tree down for souvenirs. before long, federal troops came over and asked confederate soldiers why they were cutting down the tree and they said this was the tree where general lee surrendered to general grant. they wanted part of it too. they went to work getting souvenirs. by that night all the root also been dug up and there was nothing by a hole in the ground. and many visitors will come through bringing pieces of the apple tree that their ansister brought home with them. some of them which have been donated to the park are on display here. and the apple tree myth was believed by many soldiers at the time. it was really dispelled when general grant wrote his memoirs. i think one of the most moving pieces in our collection is a letter written by
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lieutenant charles mennengrove. he was a staff officer for fitz hugh lee. he had joined the army maybe against his parents' wishes. and during the waning fight here at appomattox courthouse on the morning of april 9, as the federal infantry closed down the stage road sealing off lee's line of retreat, fitz hugh lee decided he would try to escape with what cavalry he could. didn't know his men were going to be allowed to keep their horses. as they turned to ride away, a bullet struck young mennengrove and knocked him off his horse. the surgeon looked at him said he was a dead man, so they pinned a note on his jacket and let his father know of his death. as he's left dying on the
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battlefield, he pulls out a piece of paper and writes a letter to his mother. my darling mother, i'm dying, but i have fallen where i expected to fall. our cause is defeated but i do not live to see the end of it. i suffer agonies. would to god i could die calmly, but in all things i must see his will be done. my greatest regret in living this world is to leave you and the rest of the dear ones. the younger children will be more comforting to you than i have been, but none of them will love you more. that is the death letter to his mother. but a federal surgeon named norris with a new york regiment actually finds mennendrove on the battlefield operates on him, removes the bullet and saves his life. so in the end, he doesn't die on the battlefield here at appomattox.
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what we've covered here are just the high points. there are many more stories, buildings and exhibits to see. appomattox is often forgotten by the american public or overlooked but it is one of the most significant places in history. this is the place where the killing of spy americans to the tune of over 700,000 ended. it's also the place where we decide we would be one nation instead of two. of the events at the mcclain house on april 9, general grant's generosity to general lee and his men and the events on the richmond lynchburg stage road and during the stacking of arms set a positive course for the nation. and allowed for a stronger country to emerge. please pay us a visit or even make a special pilgrim and to visit our site. you can watch this or other
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american artifacts programs at any time by visiting our website c-span.org/history. were you a fan of c-span's first ladies series? first ladies is now a book published by public affairs looking into the personal life of every first lady in american history, based on interviews with more than 50 preeminent historians and biographers. learn what made these women who they were. their lives, ambitions and unique partnerships. the lives of 45 iconic women provides stories of these fascinating women who survived the scrutiny of the white house sometimes at great personal cost while supporting their famous husbands and even changed history. c-span's first ladies is an ill lum mating, entertaining read.
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for the cover price of just $28.99. with live coverage of the u.s. house on c-span and the senate on c-span 2, here on c-span 3 we complement that coverage by showing you the most relevant public hearings. on weekends, c-span is the home of american history tv. the civil war's 150th anniversary, visiting battlefields and key events. american artifacts touring museums and historic sites to see what they reveal about america's past. the presidency looking at the policies and legacies of our nation's commanders in chief. top college professors delving into the past. and films through the 1930s
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through the engage. [ applause ] [ coughing ] next an event marking the 150th anniversary of the surrender of confederate forces at appomattox courthouse ending the civil war. then a discussion on some of the legacies of the civil war on today's generation. after that a tour of the appomattox courthouse national park. 150 years ago, appomattox courthouse in virginia was the site where confederate general robert e. lee surrender his army to union general ulysses s grant, effectively ending the civil war. next, the commemorative ceremony marking the exact time that grant and lee met at the mcclaine house to discuss terms of surrender. university of richmond president ed airs provides the key note
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address and other speakers include decedents of key grant and lee aides who took part in that historic meeting. also part of the program reenactments of grant's arrival at the mcclaine house as well as lee's departure following the surrender. this is about an hour and 45 minutes. >> my name is robin snyder and i am currently the acting superintendent at appomattox courthouse national historical park. it is my distinct hopper on behalf of the national parks service and the united states postal service to welcome each of you here today on this 's hef historic day intr our nation's history. this courthouse village stands not just as a symbol of war's end, but as a point of departurepart for aur transformed nation. the significance of what took place in mr. mcclaine's parlor settled the issue of who would
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be the victors of the american civil war, but many questions remained unanswered. soldiers echoed their thoughts in letters and diary entries. while letters of union soldiers reflected jubilation their rds al words also reflected concerns. in t [ laughter ] in the fronthe lines of tox appomattox chaplin jl mulligan of the 140th pennsylvania wrote 14 a few days later, though the army of northern virginia is ours, still grave questions re remain to be settled for which god alone can give the true wisdom and guidance. a confederate ar till letterist, private henry robinson berkeley recorded a diary entry on april 11 after confirming in his previous day's entry that lee surren hadde surrender his whole army.he
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las surely the last 24 hours has f opinion a day of the most in intense mental anxiety i have have ever experienced. nds of thousands of thoughts have pa passed through myss mind as to what f what fault awaits my country my family m my neighbors, my friends myself. and myself. andself really sefveral months earlier morgan w. cart we are the 28th united states' colored troops expressed his concerns in a hom letter home. you know yourself that we have e been trampled under the white ma man's heel for years now and we have have a choice a to elevate ourselves and our race and what little i can do toward it i wi willll do so most willingly. should if i should die before i receive the benefit of it i will have nsolat theio consolation of knowing that the generations to come will e receive the blessing of it.
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and i think it the duty of all men of our race to they can. the diar can.eflect the diaries and letters of these soldiers reflect up certainty, ope. but also hope. hope is our central path as a a nation. and it is central to the story of appomattox. when lee -- when grant offered the s confederate soldiers could carry home their horses their e and baggage and their sidearms, he fueled fueled hope. when lee declared that his army would not scatter to the country side to fight a guerilla war, he abided the hope of lincoln, ens grant and tens of thousands of union soldiers that the conflict would end quickly and with ce ceremony rather than slowly and with destruction. for slaves, appomattox re
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represented thpre realization of dreams of freedom and fueled new hopes that the path forward would bring them justice and equality. as weas gather here on this momentous day, as we reflect on this immense event that played out in this simple virginia vi village,ll let us take hope from the events we recall and th fro strength from the people who lived upon and walked upon this ground 150 years ago. nt often requires the efforts of generations to realize and that way we remain active participants in our nation's efforts to realize the hopes and aspirations born of appomattox 150 years ago today. at this time i would like to introduce to you patrick
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a.mendonka, senior director office of the post master 6z general, a career postal employee, we are very happy to have patrick join us today for the commemoration events. [ applause ] >> good afternoon. thank you, ladies and gentlemen, thank you, robin for the kind introduction. i would like to first thank the national park service and the u.s. postal service for this fine preparation for this event today and recognize a couple of my colleagues here today from the district the district manage, district office, wendy english, william acres, darryl see, ed chabin post master roanoke and post master from appomattox, linda lawthorn. thank you for being here.
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i am tremendously honored to be here representing the u.s. postal service as we dedicate the final two stamps of our five-year civilñi war essentialcentennial series. it is humbling to be at the site where 150 years ago today general robert e. lee surrendered the army of northern virginia to general ulysses s. grant ending the bloodiest war americans have ever known. the setting is very fitting because today we come full circle with our civil war stamp series. four years ago, we began the series with our fort sumptner and first battle of bull run stamps. the wars engulfedym the farm of mclean whose home was commandeered by general beauregard as his headquarters. union aermz,you till artillery shells
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struck his farm. here his family lived peacefully until april 8th, 1865, when charles marshall an aid for general lee, asked mr. mclean to show him a place that was suitable for robert e. lee and another general to meet. when his first suggestion was rejected, mr. mclean offered up his own residence for the meeting and the rest is history. mr. mclean and colonel marshall most likely would not have happened if not for a battle that took place about 80 miles to the east in dunwoody county virginia, the battle of five forks. this was a decisive clash that forced confederates to abandon their capital and ultimately led to the surrender of the army of northern virginia. today, the united states postal
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service is pleased and proud to conclude its series bya5 issuing two new stamps, one thatíu depicts the battle of five forks and one that depicts robert e. lee's sur rend surrender to ulysses s. grant. using thee inging the images of these events, we have the stamps we have today. the battle of five forks stamps features a preproduction of a painting by a french artist who is best known for creating the 360 degree battle of gettysburg cyclerama that went on display 1983 and can be seen at the gettysburg national military park. the appomattox court house stamp is a reproduction of a 1985 painting, peace in the union by thomas nas the political cartoonist who popularized the donkey as the symbol of the democratic party and the
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elephant to represent the republican party. in these images we see the story of america and remarkably all this has done on the size of a postage stamp. from this day forward, this image of the these historic events will be carried on letters and packages to millions of households and businesses throughout the united states. on a personal note i would experience and i finally remembered the centennial of the civil war. i believe it was my first t-shirt that had something on it. it demonstrated to me how exciting the history of our nation is and how much there is to learn from it. in terms of learning my daughter went to gettysburg college, my wife and son went to shepherd university situated between sharpsburg and harpers ferry, so the civil war has always been very close to my family and myself. so in closing, let me state that in issuing these new stamps the united states postal service has been proud to participate in a valuable effort to commemorate and reflect anew on a critical area of our nation's history.
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so now on behalf of the united states postal service i would like to ask robin and dennis to come up on the stage and help us unveil the stamp. [ applause ] >> one, two, three. [ applause ]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, we're going to make a stage change here. okay. we're going to make a bit of a stage change and get to our program focused on the surrender meeting between lee and grant in the mclean house on april 9th, 1865. give us a couple of moments.
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>> shoulder arms. present.
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>> at 1:30 -- about 1:30 in the afternoon on april 9th, 1865, ulysses grant and small entourage of officers arrived here at the mclean house. if you look to your right giving you a sense of that moment, 150 years ago.
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>> after he arrived in the yard general grant dismounted, and he would move directly up the steps of william mclean's house and disappeared into the home to discuss with robert e. lee the surrender of the army of northern virginia.
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>> robert e. lee arrived here about one half hour prior to grant and was already in the parlor awaiting his arrival. for the next hour and 15 minutes, we will talk about this event, 150 years to the minute after it happened.
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robert e. leigh was accompanied that day by charles marshall one of his aides, ulysses grant was accompanied by a large group of officers among them his military secretary ellie s. parker and a dozen other officers gathered with lee in the mclean house to negotiate, to record and to sign the terms of surrender of lee's army. today, 150 years ago to this minute, we are going to revisit that afternoon in the mclean parlor. that great meeting. we remember it in its fabric, assisted by some descendants of those who were there that day but we also look for its larger meaning, for our nation, and for its people. at about three minutes -- excuse me, at five minutes after 3:00 today, after lee departs the house, a moment you will witness
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here at 3:00, at about 3:05 we will signal from this stage the beginning of bells across the land. this is an effort by which dozens if not hundreds of communities across the country will be tolling bells at 3:15 eastern daylight time this afternoon. the liberty bell will ring at 3:15 this afternoon. the bell in boston's old north church will ring at 3:15. as will the bell in the state capital in richmond and every firehouse in chicago and at hundreds of churches and schools across our nation. but the first of those bells will ring here, from this stage, just a few minutes before 3:15. the bells will ring here and across the land for four minutes, one minute for each year of the war. we hope after lee departs this scene at 3:0c9that you'll stay with us as we ring the bell.
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and now we begin. appomattox court house early appomattox courthouse. before war came, the courthouse looked not unlike hundreds of other communities across america. the tavern served travelers on the richmond to lynchburg stage road as it had for decades. francis meeks ran a common general store across the lawn from the tavern right behind you. he also served he did, as the village's postmaster and pharmacist. one thing rendered appomattox different than many villages. it was the county seat. it's an undeniable curiosity that when in 1845, the virginia legislature created appomattox county and designated the county seat at this village then called clover hill. it's an undeniable curiosity that local leaders decided to build the jail before they built
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the courthouse. once the courthouse opened in 1846 appomattox commenced a distinct rhythm that persisted for decades. monthly court days brought life to this community once a month as citizens gathered from across the county to conduct business to run for office, to sell goods, to sell slaves. to witness court proceedings. it's likely and probably that the only world famous residents at that timec probably made appearances at court days here prior to the war. sheriff wilson went about his business in early 1865 like many american sheriffs did, except that in 1865 he spent much more time rounding outzv confederate dezserters than outlawyers.
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lewis isbel lived over here to my right. he was the commonwealth's attorney. another 150 or so residents lived in and around the village. beyond were farms small and large. almost all of them cultivated by enslaved people. slaves were central to appomattox county. the slaves who lived and worked here were worth almost twice as much as the land that they worked upon. their homes, simple frame or log buildings dotted the farms and backyards of the county and village. it's likely that by 1865 many of the men, women and children who lived in these cabins had heard of the emancipation proclamation. but the union army and the freedom that would accompany it i company it had always been miles and miles away from appomattox until april 1865.ok
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>> in a small town like this, new neighbors met big excitement. they seem to come along only once a decade or so. and wilmer mclean, his wife virginia, son wilmer jr. and young daughter lulu arrived here in 1863. the curiosity was surely intensified. while appomattox experienced war only from afar, the mcleans moved here from the midst of it. indeed, a close reading of confederate newspapers in 1861 would've rendered the locals here familiar with the mclean name, long before the family arrived. wilmer mclean had married well. and in 1861, in addition to his pursuits as a sugar speculator and merchant he sizable plantation along bull run.
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a crossing of bull run borne mclean's name and became moderately famous during the first major battles of the civil war. two,u general beauregard made mclean's house the headquarters during the first part of the war and mentioned it in his reports. wilmerñi mclean was no joel sweeney. so far as celebrities went, but he likelyc arrived in appomattox with a tinge of fame. wilmer mclean had a complex relationship with the war and the confederacy. the war tangibly threatened his home. mclean's livelihood depended on the confederacy. he did a good business renting buildings and supplying the confederate army around manassas junction and with various goods and services. he reinvested some of his
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profits back into the confederacy, buying hundreds of dollars worth of confederate bonds. in early 1862, when the confederates departed northern virginia, so did the mcleans. at least his business.ñr he sent his family and some of his slaves a i way for security sake. and after the second battle bloodied the field of manassas mclean decided to leave it all together. the decision brought him here to appomattox appomattox. a place that had seen none of the war and had felt its hardships only through the letters home of the serving soldiers and the dire news of death by battle and sickness. wilmer mclean his family, and at least some of their slaves moved into75rq comfortable brick house next to us here. there, mclean would disappear from history@oeñ until april 9th,
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1865 when one of robert e. lee's staff officers encountered him on the dirt streets of the village at appomattox courthouse. >> robert e. lee it's likely in 1865 -- his name has come to us in simple terms as a man of marvel, status a product of effective simplicity unaffected dignity and incredible boldness. but there is more to lee than that. he was deeply analytical and saw the implications of his acts more clearly than even most of his ardent admirers did. he became unshakably committed to the success of the confederacy. to sustaining the differences between north and south by forging a new independent nation. and he did, perhaps, more than anyone else to nearly make that happen.
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in the middle of 1862, robert e. lee began a year-long stretch of stunning military successes perhaps unmatched in our nation's history. in fredericksburg and chancellorsville. every one of them spectacular against significant odds. the victories brought him fame, but more importantly, they brought the confederacy hope. while lee won victories in virginia, around him, the confederate war effort stumbled. he knew well victories by him and his army stood as the only beacon of hope for the confederacy. he knew too, that the feats inflicted by him might challenge the will of the northern people to continue this war. the psychological impact of his successes he knew would far outstrip their military value.
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his every decision his every act was purposeful. hoping for a decisive blow that would tip the scales in the confederacy's favor. hoped and believed a soldier from south carolina declared no one can incite our enthusiasm like he does. it makes one feel better to look at him. unlike many of his opponents, lee spent little time worrying about what union generals might do to him. instead, he spent his energy figuring out what he could do to union generals and their armies. his was a mind that craved the initiative. and he was most effective when he possessed it. and that he largely did until may 1864 when ulysses s. grant arrived in virginia.
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>> unlike lee, there would be few profuse descriptions of ulysses s. grant, commander of all union armies. one veteran officer described him as stumpy, unmilitary, slouchy, and western looking. very ordinary, in fact. a private soldier who saw him in a review said he rode his horse like a bag of meal. another noted in walking he leans forward and toddles. though the bearing he could not have been more different than robert e. lee. by the time the armies arrived at appomattox, he might have been only slightly less famous than his opponent. certainly, he had become a central to his nation's
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aspirations as lee was to the confederacy. charles francis adams jr., a grandson of presidents conceded grant's awkward ways but saw the man within. he's a remarkable man. he handles those around him so quietly and well. he has a faculty of disposing of work. and managing men. president lincoln recognized grant's skills, but especially admired his persistentsy sissistencey of purpose. he has the grit of a bulldog. another officer put it in even more colorful terms. he habitually wears an expression as if he is determined to drive his head through a brick wall and was about to do it. general grant attached himself to the army of the potomac in
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1864 and promptly set about taking the initiative from robert e. lee. with a determination that matched lee's and with an army larger than the army of northern virginia, grant thundered through virginia through the wilderness, to the cold harbor. in front of richmond and petersburg. on april 1st 1865 he imposed disaster on the confederates at five forks. petersburg fell on april 2nd and richmond the next day. lee and his army fled westward trying to escape. the parallel pass of the army finally intersected here at appomattox courthouse not far from the home of the newcomer, wilmer mclean. >> the apple tree.
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grant first proposed that lee surrender near farmville on april 7th. but lee danced around the issue trying to buy some time. keeping his options open. until all hope was extinguished. that moment came on the morning of september -- excuse me, sunday, april 9th. the supplies lee had hoped would feed his army in appomattox station fell into union hands. before dawn that morning sensing what the day might bring and knowing that how he portrayed himself in defeat mattered a great deal lee dressed in a new gray uniform and sash. and buckled on his sword, something he rarely did. at some point, he received the worst news at his headquarters east of the river. his army could not breakthrough the union lines west of the courthouse. on dozens of fields, lee had always had options.
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but no more. there's nothing left for me to do, he said, than to go see general grant. and i had rather die a thousand deaths. over the next many hours, lee sent three notes through the lines to grant. the last was simple and direct. quote, i ask a suspension of hostilities pending the adjustment of the terms of surrender of this army. about 10:30 in the morning of april 9th 1865, the guns of the armies fell silent. lee waited for a response under an apple tree along the stage road near the narrow banks of the appomattox river about a mile from where we are. not far from the banjo playing sweeneys' home, all the brothers were dead by now. a staff officer hauled up some fence rails for lee to sit upon as he waited. for a time, the general fell asleep. as he awaited word from grant.
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just before 1:00 p.m., the union staff officer bearing a flag of truce and a note from grant arrived at lee's apple tree headquarters. grant's note informed lee i will push forward to the front for the purpose of meeting you. it is now my pleasure to call forth patrick schroeder who for 20 years has explored the lanes the fields and the home places of appomattox courthouse as an historian for the national park service. today, he will carry our story from the apple tree into mclean's parlor, 150 years ago to this minute. >> thank you, john thank you for all of you being in attendance today to remember this important date in our country's history. the union officer carrying grant's letter was lieutenant
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colonel orville babcock. named william mckee dunn. they found lee resting under that apple tree by the appomattox river. lee had with him only lieutenant colonel charles marshall, his aid to camp of his staff and an orderly named joshua johns. his other aid to camp, walter taylor had begged off from having to suffer the humiliation of attending the surrender meeting. marshall did not. in fact, lee refused to duck the responsibility himself. attending the meeting in person. the previous correspondence, grant offered to save lee the humiliation anymore that he would meet with anyone that lee designated.

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